In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the St. Louis Blues sent goalie propsect Niklas Lundstrom and a fifth round pick in this year's draft to the Oilers for back-up goalie Anders Nilsson. The Blues have been between a rock and a hard place all season long with injuries. Just as Jake Allen was returning to the line up, after being out since early January, Elliott left last Monday's game against the Sharks with an injury. Fortunately Allen was able to step right into the starter spot sparing Copley or Binnington the fate of standing behind a Blues defense that is missing one of its top defenders.
With Elliott being out at least four weeks and the playoffs coming up sooner than we realize, the Blues needed a goaltender with NHL experience. But with the Blues' cap situation they needed a player who could fit the Blues' tight cap (while also maintaining the minimum number of Swedes needed under the current CBA). In steps the Edmonton Oilers.
Copper and Blue have a nice write up about the trade from their perspective, complete with a history of Nilsson's season with the Oilers to date. Nilsson had a good camp and earned the back up spot at the beginning of the season. He eventually got the nod for starter, but that didn't turn out so well and ended up being moved back to the minors. Nilsson's numbers aren't great, but (knock on wood) he isn't going to be expected to play much. In 26 games, Nilsson has faced 586 shots and has a 91.13 save% at 5v5. His high danger save% is 82.46%. Nilsson comes with a $1 million cap hit, but according to Lou Korac the Blues will only be responsible for about a third of that.
Lundstrom was drafted by the Blues in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He played in the ECHL this season and saw a few games with the Chicago Wolves. However, with Binnington and Copley ahead of him in the depth chart, who knows if or when we might have seen him play for the Blues.
I know what some of you are thinking, "Armstrong traded for a goaltender AGAIN?!?!?" However, in this case, it was a necessary move for the team. There was no way they could go into the playoffs with a back up goalie that has seen little to no NHL ice time. A late round pick and a deep prospect seems more than reasonable for this trade. Nilsson is an RFA at the end of this season and the Blues can figure out what to do with him at that time.